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|Name||Compass Community School Athelstan Park|
|Mr Andrew Cooper|
|Address||114 Warminster Road, Westbury, BA13 3BR|
|Type||Other independent special school|
|Number of Pupils||9 (88.9% boys 11.1% girls)|
What is it like to attend this school?
All pupils at Compass Community School Athelstan Park have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They have had negative experiences of education in the past. Many have had significant periods where they did not attend school at all. Staff build positive relationships with pupils so that they begin to feel that school is a safe and enjoyable place. Consequently, pupils attend well.
Leaders seek pupils’ views and use these when making decisions. This helps pupils build their trust in school staff and to feel valued. Staff are aspirational for pupils. They care about them and want them to do well.
When leaders have raised expectations, such as when dealing with some types of behaviour, pupils have responded to them. However, there remain aspects of school life where pupils do not comply with what is being asked of them. In addition, some pupils treat one another, or staff, with disrespect. Swearing is commonplace and not always challenged by staff.
In the primary phase, this is not the case. Pupils are typically tolerant of one another. Pupils are beginning to form more positive relationships with one another. For example, providing informal football coaching to younger pupils during social time.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
When they start at the school, pupils lack confidence in their ability to learn and in school staff to help them. Staff get to know pupils well. They are adept at identifying any newly emerging needs. Staff know how to support pupils to self-regulate their behaviour and manage their feelings. However, this is not yet having the impact that leaders intend. Many older pupils display poor attitudes to learning and are disrespectful to staff and their peers. Their lessons are often interrupted by poor behaviour.
Leaders have designed a broad and suitably ambitious curriculum. They have identified the essential knowledge that pupils should learn. When pupils start at the school, staff find out pupils’ interests to re-engage them with learning. As the curriculum is built around these interests initially, this means that pupils do not learn the essential knowledge that leaders have identified. Learning is sometimes disconnected and does not build on what pupils know and remember.
Leaders assess pupils’ knowledge promptly when they join the school. Leaders identify with precision the most significant gaps. This information is used to create a bespoke curriculum for each pupil. For older pupils, this means ensuring they can secure qualifications that will prepare them for their next stages in education. Teachers check what pupils have learned. However, they do not then revisit learning in light of these checks. Therefore, gaps in pupils’ knowledge remain.
In key stage 2, staff rigorously close the gaps in knowledge which pupils arrive with. Pupils develop and strengthen their reading and core mathematical knowledge well. This provides pupils with a strong foundation so that they can learn the wider curriculum.
There are daily opportunities for pupils to read. For some pupils, this includes phonics teaching. Staff find reading materials that reflect pupils’ interests and develop a love of reading. Leaders promote and prioritise reading. However, older pupils do not all read widely or often.
The proprietor, governors and leaders have a strong sense of moral purpose. They put pupils’ best interests at the centre of their work. Staff are proud to work at the school. However, much of the work of the school is not yet having the intended impact.
Pupils’ personal development is delivered sensitively to meet their needs. The school’s work to develop and support pupils’ understanding of mental health is a particular strength. Pupils are developing their sense of citizenship and an understanding of the law.
Leaders have ensured they are compliant with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010. Policies are up to date and reflect the latest statutory guidance. The safeguarding policy and the relationships and sex education and health education policy are available on the school’s website.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
There is a strong culture of safeguarding. All staff are aware of the safeguarding risks that are most prevalent for their pupils.
All staff are vigilant for signs that a pupil may be at risk of harm. They refer these concerns promptly and in detail. Pupils’ safeguarding records are comprehensive. As a result, leaders make referrals swiftly. They are tenacious in securing support from external agencies when this is necessary.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? The way that the curriculum is implemented does not always focus on or order the important knowledge that pupils need to learn. As a result, some pupils are not building a coherent knowledge of the subjects that they study and cannot build on what they already know. Leaders must ensure that that pupils develop secure knowledge which prepares them well for their next steps. ? Teaching does not focus sufficiently on the gaps in knowledge that staff identify. Consequently, these gaps persist. Leaders need to ensure that staff know how to address deficits in pupils’ knowledge and skills. ? Older pupils do not behave as well as those in the primary phase. Their behaviour impacts negatively on pupils’ learning and the atmosphere in the school. This includes swearing and discriminatory language, which is not always challenged by staff. Leaders should ensure that behaviour systems are used effectively to ensure that older pupils’ behaviour improves.